Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) Stretches & Exercises

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. If you have a question, just ask. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) can be an acute or chronic issue. It's basically when the intervertebral discs of the spine start to degenerate.

Degenerative Disc Disease can happen from a trauma either big or small over time, and it is often associated with aging. These stretches and exercises should help.

The first stretch is called the pelvic tilt. You will roll back onto your back with your knees bent. You want to imagine pushing your belly button into the ground, or push your back flat onto the ground like you are squishing something. You can put your hand under the curve of your back, and try to push your back into your hand. Make sure you are breathing and not holding your breath while doing these exercises.

Next you will do a bridge. Push your bottom up off the ground, but try to do this slowly, and do one segment of your back at a time curling upward. Then slowly go down the same way, one segment at a time.

Now you will do some stretches. For the hamstring stretch, you can use a strap, belt, dog leash, or towel. You want your knee to be straight with this stretch, so only go as high as you can before the knee bends. Pull it up in the air towards your head, and if you pull your toes towards you as well, you will get more of a stretch. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and do it three times.

Then you will do a piriformis/glut stretch. Cross the leg that is hurting over into a figure 4 position. Pull the good leg up towards your chest by grabbing underneath the knee. You can use a belt or leash to help pull the leg up if your hips are not very flexible.

Next you will stretch your quad in a kneeling position. Place the knee of the quad you want to stretch on the ground, and take the opposite leg and bend it in front of you at a ninety-degree angle. You might want to place a pillow under your knee to protect it. You will be in a lunge position with the knee of your injured side on the ground. Then grab the ankle of the side you want to stretch and pull it up towards your buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds, and do it 3 times.

The hip flexor stretch will be in the same position. Place the knee of the hip flexor you want to stretch on the ground, and take the opposite leg and bend it in front of you at a ninety-degree angle. You might want to place a pillow under your knee to protect it. You will be in a lunge position with the knee of your injured side on the ground. Now drive the knee of the uninjured side forward away from your body. Hold for 30 seconds, and do this 3 times.

Now you are going to get onto all fours or in the quadruped position. Try to keep your hands directly underneath your shoulders, and try to keep your back in a straight line, no arching up or down. Kick one leg straight out behind you. Do ten on each side.

For the last set of stretches, you will still be in quadruped. The cat/cow or cat/dog stretch is performed by tucking your chin in and arching your back. Then drop your back down and lift your head looking forward. You can hold this for 10-15 seconds and alternate back and forth for about a minute.

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